Darris McCord made a mark on his Detroit Lions teammates a half century ago that will never be forgotten for being a good teammate and a good friend.
McCord, a Detroit native and a member of the Lions’ defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome," died Wednesday. He had turned 80 on Jan. 4.
Roger Brown, who played tackle on the Fearsome Foursome and was a teammate of McCord’s for seven seasons, was in a reflective mood as he spoke by telephone about McCord from his home in Portsmouth, Va. Brown was sad over McCord’s passing but proud to speak about a man he respected and knew well.
"Darris was a great teammate," Brown said. "We had some good times. It’s sad. Now I’m the only one left from that original Fearsome Foursome."
McCord spent his entire 13-season NFL career with the Lions, playing from 1955-57. He missed only two of a possible 170 games and was a member of the 1957 National Football League champions. He was voted to the 1957 Pro Bowl team.
"On behalf of the William Clay Ford Family and the entire Lions organization, we offer our deepest sympathies to Darris’ wife Helen, his daughters Vickie and Kelli, and his son Mike,” Lions President Tom Lewand said.
"Darris will not only be remembered as a cornerstone to the Lions’ great Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the 1960s, but also as someone who made many positive contributions to the Detroit community over the last five decades.”
Detroit’s Fearsome Foursome got its nickname in the early 1960s from the late Van Patrick, who did play-by-play of Lions and Tigers games. The nickname moved west to Los Angeles and the Rams when Brown was traded there in 1967 after his seventh season with the Lions.
Detroit’s Fearsome Foursome had McCord at left end, Alex Karras at left tackle, Brown at right tackle and Sam Williams at right end.
Karras died on Oct. 10 of last year. Williams died on April 25 of this year.
Brown said he knew that McCord had been ill and had spoken by telephone with his son, Mike, on Tuesday.
Brown remembered McCord as a quiet, competitive player who after his retirement participated in the Lions’ alumni functions.
"He never was a rah-rah guy, ‘Let’s go out and kill ‘em,’" Brown said. "But he was there for support, and he’d hold up his side. He was an outstanding teammate and a good player."
McCord went to Cass Tech High in Detroit but did not play football. He was an outstanding college player at Tennessee, where he as an All-American defensive lineman and co-captain by his senior season in 1954.
At Tennessee he played in the Cotton Bowl and played in the Senior Bowl, Blue Gray Game before the Lions drafted him in the third round in 1955. As a rookie, he played in the College All-Star game, which pitted the top college prospects against the defending NFL champions.
Funeral arrangements are pending.